11, 5 of them cops, hurt as villagers run riot in Kutch

At least six villagers and five policemen, including two officers, were injured in Abdasa taluka of Kutch district where villagers angry with the management of a cement plant pelted stones, leading to lathi-charge by police.

Eyewitnesses and police said trouble began when villagers from eight-odd villages gathered at the company premises at Sanghipuram and demanded a water pipeline to meet their water requirements.

The region often suffers from water shortages and the district suffered a severe deficit in the last monsoon.

Villagers were also demanding food rations the company had apparently promised them, but they were turned them away.

Also, a police officer said, some of the locals employed at the plant had reportedly been fired recently.

A local, Sama Hussain Tamachi, said the company had not kept its promise of employing locals and providing fodder and drinking water to villagers.

Police said the villagers resorted to stone-pelting in which policemen were injured, which led to a lathi-charge.

Tension continued till late evening, with district collector A J Shah and Bhuj Superintendent of Police Bipin Ahire rushing to the spot, more than 100 kms from district headquarters.

Ahire said over phone around 9.30 pm that the situation had been brought under control and the company and the villagers had settled their problems.

He said injuries on either side were not very serious, but the injured were treated at the Community Health Centre in Naliya, a town there.

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